If I had a penny for every person that told me that perfume should not be bought as a gift because it is “so personal” I’d have, well, at least £6.50 about now, and that’s money not to be scoffed at. In all seriousness though, it’s my belief that perfume shouldn’t be shied away from as a gift, after all, what could be more thoughtful than a carefully picked fragrance that matches the spirit and style of a loved one or friend? Nothing, that’s what!
I’m a firm believer that perfume makes an exceptional gift because it is akin to gifting a person with a memory – a memory that they will always associate with you. Of course, that means that there is a lot of pressure to get it right, and one wouldn’t want there to be a negative association between the gifted perfume and the person gifting it. In order to assist you with avoiding any form of fragrant faux pas, I’ve knocked together a little guide on how to buy the perfect perfume as a gift for your loved ones.
The Safe Option: Top Them Up
Buying a new perfume, i.e. a scent that someone may not be familiar with, as a gift can be a risky business, and I’m not talking about the cool kind of risky business involving Tom Cruise and shiny laminate floors, I mean that it could all go terribly wrong and your recipient could be left with a fragrance they don’t like and you may be met with nothing more than a polite smile. So, if you’re a risk-averse individual, then your safest option is to top your giftee with something they already know and love. If someone is a life-long Mitsouko fan, for example, then why re-invent the wheel? Get them some Mitsouko, for pete’s sake.
Do some snooping and find out what they have in their collection and if they have a favourite perfume that they have run out of, or are panicking over their depleting stash of a certain scent then gift your friend/family member/significant other with a replenishment of their favourite fragrance, they’ll thank you for it. If you’re feeling particularly generous, then perhaps you can pick out some of the accompanying body products, or even a nifty gift set containing their signature scent, and if you’re looking to drop some serious dough then why not go for an Extrait or Pure Parfum concentration. Only if they deserve it though, of course!
The Fun Option: Buying Something New
Now for the decidedly more fun, but slightly riskier option – buying something new. Is the risk worth it? Of course – the gift of a carefully curated scent speaks of thoughtfulness and says that you care enough to take the time, energy and care to sniff out something perfect. So, how exactly do you pick out the perfect scent without ending up with a complete stinker? Well, here’s three easy steps for you to follow:
1) Find Out What They Wear Already
The fragrances in a person’s wardrobe can be a very good indicator of what their tastes are. For example, if someone has a closet full of spicy orientals, then why not pick out a new oriental fragrance for them? Or, if someone is a life-long dedicated Guerlain lover, then you wouldn’t be wrong to pick up something from the esteemed French house as a treat. My philosophy for gifting is, if they’re giving you something to go on, then go for it.
If however, you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could use their prior scent history as a guide for finding something completely new. Should your recipient adore big, blousy florals from the 1980s such as Paris and Rive Gauche etc., it may be worthwhile to find them a more modern and contemporary interpretation of their favourite style, like Narciso Rodriguez’s highly diffusive NARCISO, for example. It can be a lovely surprise to pick out something they wouldn’t go for themselves, but whatever it is you choose to do, don’t ignore the fragrances in a person’s collection – they can act as a very handy guide, indeed.
2) Try Before You Buy
One good way to make sure that your perfumed present is as perfect as possible, is to try before you buy. Of course, it’ll be your recipient doing the ‘trying’ so why not take them out on a scented shopping trip to get an idea of what it is that they’re looking for, or would like. Failing that, you can always order a sample set, like the Eau d’Italie Sample Bag, for example, with the proviso that you’ll buy a bottle of their favourite once they have worked their way through the set.
Of course, allowing your recipient to have a cheeky sample does ruin the surprise somewhat, but the payback is the fact that you’ll know for definite that the bottle they end up with is the right one. It’s also great fun to present the choice to your recipient and involve them with the decision making process, after all, they do say that buying perfume is personal…
3) Go Out on a Limb
This is the most risky option and it requires quite a bit of confidence. That said, if you’re buying someone perfume as a gift, then the odds are that you know them pretty well, and you should be safe in the knowledge that you’re not likely to go wrong. What’s great about going out on a limb and buying something completely new is that you get to pick something that you feel suits your recipients personality. What could be more thoughtful and loving than that?
Perfumes have such strong characters that it’s easy to find something for everyone. A scent can be moody, sexy, charming, funny, bizarre, sultry, challenging, all of the above, and so much more, so it doesn’t take much searching to find a fragrance that is in tune with the traits of a person’s personality. Read blogs, reviews and the descriptions like the ones here on Escentual to give you an idea of the character of a fragrance and find one that perfectly matches your recipient. It really is just that simple.
There you have it! My easy 3-and-a-bit steps to buying the perfect perfume as a gift. If you take away one thing from this post, just remember that gifting perfume isn’t difficult, in fact it can be rather fun and there’s no better way to display the depth of your love or friendship than gifting someone with a bottle of scented memory.